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Wednesday Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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Hindrances to Discipleship (9:57–62)

Luke 9:57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”

In these verses, we meet three would-be disciples who illustrate three of the main hindrances to whole-hearted discipleship. The first man was quite sure he wanted to follow Jesus anywhere and everywhere. He did not wait to be called, but impetuously offered himself. He was self-confident, unduly eager, and unmindful of the cost. He did not know the meaning of what he said.

Luke 9:58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

At first, the answer of Jesus does not seem to be related to the man’s offer. Actually, however, there was a very close connection. Jesus was saying, in effect, “Do you know what it really means to follow me? It means the forsaking of the comforts and conveniences of life. I do not have a home to call my own. This earth affords no rest to me.

Foxes and birds have more in the way of natural comfort and security than I. Are you willing to follow Me, even if it means forsaking those things which most men consider to be their inalienable rights?” When we read the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head we are apt to pity Him. One commentator remarks: “He does not need your pity. Pity yourself rather if you have a home that holds you back when Christ wants you out upon the high places of the world.”

We hear no more of the man, and can only assume that he was unwilling to give up the common comforts of life to follow the Son of God.

Luke 9:59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

The second man heard Christ’s call to follow Him. He was willing, in a way, but there was something he wanted to do first. He wanted to go and bury his father. Notice what he said. “Lord, let me first go.…” In other words, “Lord … me first.

He called Jesus by the name of Lord, but actually he puts his own desires and interests first.

The words “Lord” and “me first” are totally opposed to each other; we must choose one or the other.

Whether the father was already dead or whether the son planned to wait at home until he died, the issue was the same—he was allowing something else to take precedence over Christ’s call. 

It is perfectly legitimate and proper to show respect for a dead or dying father, but when anyone or anything is allowed to rival Christ, it becomes positively sinful.

This man had something else to do—we might say, a job or an occupation—and this lured him away from a pathway of unreserved discipleship.

Luke 9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

The Lord rebuked his double-mindedness with the words, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.

The spiritually dead can bury the physically dead, but they can’t preach the gospel. 

Disciples should not give priority to tasks that the unsaved can do just as well as Christians.

The believer should make sure that he is indispensable as far as the main thrust of his life is concerned. His principal occupation should be to advance the cause of Christ on earth.

Luke 9:61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”

The third would-be disciple resembled the first in that he volunteered to follow Christ. He was like the second in that he uttered the contradiction, “Lord … me first.

He wanted first to say goodbye to his family. In itself, the request was reasonable and proper, but even the common civilities of life are wrong if they are placed ahead of prompt and complete obedience.

Luke 9:62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus told him that once he put his hand to the plow of discipleship, he must not look back; otherwise he was not fit for the kingdom of God. 

Christ’s followers are not made of half-hearted stuff or dreamy sentimentality. No considerations of family or friends, though lawful in themselves, must be allowed to turn them aside from utter and complete abandonment to Him.

The expression not “fit for the kingdom” does not refer to salvation but to service. It is not at all a question of entrance into the kingdom but of service in the kingdom after entering it.

Our fitness for entering into the kingdom is in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. It becomes ours through faith in Him.

And so we have three cardinal hindrances to discipleship illustrated in the experience of these men: Material comforts A job or an occupation. Family and friends.

Christ must reign in the heart without a rival. All other loves and all other loyalties must be secondary.

Mission of the Seventy

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. What benefits are there in sending 2x2?

Luke 10:2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. What are your thoughts when compared to our generation?

Luke 10:3 Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.

Luke 10:4 Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. :5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ :6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.

Luke 10:7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house.

Luke 10:8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. :9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Luke 10:10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, :11 ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’ :12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.

A town may reject the gospel and then be denied the privilege of hearing it again.

There comes a time in God’s dealings when the message is heard for the last time. Men should not trifle with the gospel, because it may be withdrawn forever. 

Light rejected is light denied. Revelation 3:15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. :16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.


Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 121). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr., MacDonald, Farstad, Believers Bible; Hinson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson